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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | MSc program in Information and Service Management | 2016
Thesis number: 14441
Challenges in adopting a Devops approach to software development and operations
Author: Hamunen, Joonas
Title: Challenges in adopting a Devops approach to software development and operations
Year: 2016  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: MSc program in Information and Service Management
Index terms: tietojärjestelmät; information systems; tietämyksenhallinta; knowledge management; ohjelmistot; software
Pages: 69
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_14441.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (2662325)
Key terms: Devops; Development and IT Operations; Agile; Lean; Continuous deployment
The constantly changing business needs and the requirement for faster time to market with software of present day has created a paradigm shift towards a 3rd generation Software Development philosophy called Devops. The lack of collaboration between IT Operations and Software Development as well as mismatch in configuration between development, testing and production environment has made deploying software releases slow and painful for many organizations. Different incentives between teams makes it difficult to work towards a common goal of bringing added value to customers.

A Devops approach to software development brings down the walls between the teams and align incentives through a collaborative culture, automation, lean principles, measurement practices and sharing. The benefits of Devops have been shown to be substantial with a significantly faster time to market and increased software stability. The organizational change is substantial which makes the challenges in adopting Devops an interesting topic to research. This thesis studies the challenges of Devops by interviewing nine experts who had been involved with Devops initiatives in their companies.

The qualitative study was conducted by semi-structured theme interviews on nine industry professionals who had hands-on experience with Devops implementations.

The findings were divided into four main challenge categories based on their topic. Due to the novelty of the approach, the concept of Devops for many is unknown or biased which hurts the overall implementation of practices. The lack of support in both management and organizational levels is a hindrance, since especially changing culture needs strong support and organizational buy- in in order to succeed. The toolset needed for Devops is particularly diverse and finding the fit, correct usage and attitudes towards that technology is challenging. Finally, when shifting to Devops that requires a certain level of lean principles and agility, aligning existing organizational processes such as the change management process to accommodate the new way of working was found challenging.

The implications of study yield four action points to help overcome the challenges found. Clearing misconceptions and spreading the knowledge of Devops helps overcome the lack of awareness challenge. Additionally, building commitment and trust in both management and team-levels getting Devops through the door in an organization. Establishing common ways of working and leading by example helps to overcome the challenge of fragmented technologies and reluctant attitudes towards it. Finally, ensuring the flexibility of the organization is key in order to prevent bottlenecks from forming in the delivery process.
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